Do All The Good You Can


Photo by Bankim Desai on Unsplash

Do all the good you can.
By all the means you know.
For ev’ry-one you come a-cross.
And ev’ry place you go.

1. I feel foundations shift
I fear the rising storm
I grieve this breaking land
Yearning to sing this song. (Ref.)

2. Walk ‘mid the growing earth
Take in the scented breeze
I hold this prayer for you
You lift it high for me. (Ref.)

3. Come dance the hopes we know
Spinning despite the cold
The chrys’lis waits, then one day cracks
Letting wet wings unfold. (Ref.)

piano version audio, below.


Words and music by Bret Hesla.
© 2022 Bret Hesla. All rights reserved. Use with permission, please.
Licensed via, Contact:

Thanks to Rebekah Fergus and Paul Andress for singing on the guitar version! Thanks also to Cooper Sherry for the lovely piano score, and singing with it!


The text for the refrain of this song was based on the acceptance speech of Paida Chikate, a 2022 recipient of the Hawkinson Fund Scholarship for Peace and Justice. It paraphrases the advice she got from her great grandmother when she left home. See below for the full story.  As for the verses, they were also partly inspired by the words of the other justice workers being honored at that same event.

—–Below, Paida shares excerpted text from her acceptance speech.. Thanks Paida!—————-

Hello everyone, my name is Paida Chikate, I am a PhD student at the University of Minnesota and I am so proud to be one of the recipients of the Hawkinson scholarship this year. First and foremost, thank you so much to all the donors who continue to support the Hawkinson Foundation- you are making such a lasting impact on us the recipients. 

I wanted to briefly share a story with you all that may inspire you to do more for your own communities. I am from Zimbabwe, a small country in Southern Africa. It is a rich country but it is plagued by corruption and looting of resources. Thirteen years ago, when I left my home, I went to see my great grandmother who was 102 at the time to seek her blessing to leave the country and come to America. She was, as usual, excited for me and wanted to know everything. After I described the journey, she looked at me puzzled and said, “So you are going to fly in a metal box over an ocean, to live very far away and go to a school with people you have never met?” I nervously said I was. She then said, “Well, I am giving you my blessing on one condition and that is to do all the good you can wherever you are for the people you live with. Remember,” she said, “you are an ambassador of this family, so do not embarrass us!” Her frankness was her best trait 🙂

I live by that advice as much as I can and to this day, it has served me well. So I leave you that same charge my great grandmother left me: Do all the good you can, wherever you are for the people you live with  especially because right now, we all need as much good as we can get.


p.s. Bret further writes: I’ve also since found that that same refrain text appears to be connected to an older quote from John Wesley (1703 – 1791).


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